Rickey Smiley Opens Up About Son Brandon’s Passing, Speculates That He Overdosed: ‘He Was Struggling’


In his first interview since losing his son, Rickey Smiley is sharing some of his family’s speculations surrounding the death of Brandon Smiley.

Rickey Smiley Believed Brandon Was ‘Doing Better’: ‘He Has Just Got Baptized’

During an appearance on the Today show, Rickey recounted the January morning when he learned about the news. The radio personality specifically shared that Brandon’s girlfriend contacted him, and she said that the 32-year-old “had OD’d.”

“His girlfriend called…She was crying, and she said—in her words—that he had OD’d.”

Upon hearing this news, Rickey immediately prepared to hop on a flight from Dallas to Birmingham, though he received news of Brandon’s death while heading to the airport.

“I got a phone call on why way out the door from Brandon’s younger sister who lives in Atlanta. [She said] that he had passed. She was crying.”

Co-host Craig Melvin then proceeded to ask if Brandon had “a history of drug abuse,” and Rickey confirmed that his son had been “struggling” with addiction.

He also noted that he and Brandon’s mother “made several attempts” to try and get him to a rehab center. Additionally, Rickey noted that the family “thought [Brandon] was doing much better,” as he had “just joined the church.”

“We thought that he was doing better. He had just joined the church. He had just got Baptized probably a month before he passed away.”

Rickey then said, “He used, and it killed him.”

However, he’s sure to note that the official cause of death is pending, and the family hasn’t received a toxicology report yet.

“This is just what we’re speculating according to his girlfriend, who found him unresponsive.”

He Shares A Message To Parents: ‘We Have To Have A Conversation’

After opening up about Brandon’s passing, Rickey proceeded to share a message to “other parents who have have a child who’s dealing with addiction issues.”

Smiley pointed out that, as he believes parents “are having the conversation” about drugs with their kids, the true battle is “getting the kids to listen.”

“We have to have a conversation. I think the parents are having the conversation. The problem is getting the kids to listen to what the parents are saying. The parents are having these conversations.”

He also divulged that the family “had been talking to [Brandon] for years” about his addiction before noting that, regardless of the children’s upbringing, drug addiction is a very real potential risk.

“We just assume that if you’re in a good school district or a gated community and that these kids are not doing drugs.”

Rickey reinforced this statement by adding, “You don’t have to be in the hood to succumb to drug abuse.”

Finally, he wrapped up the interview by reflecting on his late son, noting that he was “a great kid.”

We continue to send our prayers and condolences to Ricky Smiley and the rest of his family.


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